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22 classic gaming mistakes

We are error! Celebrating memorable moments developers might prefer to forget

So much goes into developing a videogame that the odd mistake slipping through is inevitable. Most of these are quietly forgotten about, or were quickly fixed for the next production run of the game (or patched, these days). Over the years, though, some blunders have been so big, or have featured in such memorable games, that they've become well-known among gamers. While we're sure the likes of Nintendo, Konami and Capcom would like to pretend the following events never happened, we've dug them all up anyway, because we're mean like that. After all, it's our flaws that give us personality, or something. Oh just read on.

WWF No Mercy

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The N64 was the king of wrestling games, mainly due to the unbeatable combination of publisher THQ and developer AKI. After wowing grapple fans with a couple of WCW games and then WWF Wrestlemania 2000, excitement for their next game, WWF No Mercy, was at fever pitch. When it was released in December 2000 it was snapped up in absolutely huge numbers by hordes of smackdown-hungry wrestling fans, before it was discovered that the UK version of the game had a crippling bug - it deleted your save file every time you tried to save your game. This being the era before the quick-fix of patches was available to the public, gamers had to return their copy to the shop from whence it came in order to receive a bug-free replacement copy a couple of weeks later.

Super Mario Bros 2

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Back in the days of the NES, translation jobs were a little sloppier than they are now. Even Nintendo's own games suffered from some dodgy errors, with Super Mario Bros. 2 a key suspect. When you beat the game you're treated to a lovely animation of Mario sleeping, complete with a list of all the characters and enemies in the game. Along with a few spelling mistakes (Hoopstar instead of Hoopster, Clawglip instead of Clawgrip), two characters - Birdo and Ostro - had their names completely swapped. So, for an entire generation of gamers, Birdo was known as Ostro for a while. Imagine!

Mortal Kombat 3

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The Mortal Kombat games are perhaps best known for two things in particular - the outrageously graphic fatality finishing moves and the cast of fabulously weird and wonderful characters. Sometimes, the two mix together in odd ways, however. Being a member of the four-armed Shokan race, like popular boss character, Goro, Sheeva's appearance in Mortal Kombat 3 marked the first playable character with a couple of extra limbs at his or her disposal. The problem was, any time someone performed a fatality on her that ended with her body as a collection of flayed bones, the game showed the same standard skeleton sprite that is used for all characters, complete with the human-standard allocation of two arms. Was Sheeva a fraud wearing a pair of fake arms? Or couldn't the developers be bothered to draw another sprite? It's the latter.

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  1. MartinIsAwesome Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 11:33

    Nice list, and there were a few of ones that I actually didn't know like the Raichu business and a couple of the bad NES translations.
    A winner is you, indeed.

  2. K-tet Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 11:41

    These are some classic gaming mistakes, but while some are memorable in their own right and others are just Engrish, I have one that I'm sure everyone will know of the moment they see the picture below:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v425/Tomatzu/winner_2.png

    Well played, gentlemen.

  3. GuitarHero Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 13:34

    Honey Queen obviously ate a poison mushroom, duh.

  4. deKay Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:05

    I wouldn't really call the technical limitations of a game a "mistake" (Sheeva's skeleton, Sagat's scar, etc.). Related to Sagat though - do you know why Deejay from Super Street Fighter II has MAXIMUM on his legs?

    M
    A
    X
    I
    M
    U
    M

    Now, mirror it... magic!

    My favourite mistranslation isn't from a Nintendo game (although a Famicom version was started, but canned), but a Spectrum/MSX/C64 game called Stop The Express. When you win, it says "Congraturation! You Sucsess!". To this day I still wheel it out instead of saying "congratulations" for anything :)

  5. deKay Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:06

    These are some classic gaming mistakes, but while some are memorable in their own right and others are just Engrish, I have one that I'm sure everyone will know of the moment they see the picture below:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v425/Tomatzu/winner_2.png

    Well played, gentlemen.

    Big Rigs FTW!

  6. Gallade7 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:07

    In Pokemon B2/W2, if you play it on challenge mode your rival has his starter at Level 45 instead of 41 when you fight him in Undella Town, however later when you team up with him in Lacunosa Town to fight Zinzolin, his starter is level 43.

    Meaning it dropped two levels. :O

  7. deKay Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:09

    In Pokemon B2/W2, if you play it on challenge mode your rival has his starter at Level 45 instead of 41 when you fight him in Undella Town, however later when you team up with him in Lacunosa Town to fight Zinzolin, his starter is level 43.

    Meaning it dropped two levels. :O

    You beat the mans good.

  8. Gallade7 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:17

    You beat the mans good.

    Eh? :S

  9. deKay Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:19

    You beat him so well you knocked two levels off him :)

  10. Gallade7 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 15:21

    You beat him so well you knocked two levels off him :)

    Aha, I see.

    Yeah, its the awesome rival music that instantly makes me ten times better. xD

  11. koopa_kicker Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 16:55

    Just pointing out that the picture of Honey Bee Queen isn't from Super Mario Galaxy 2, but is from Mario Galaxy 1: here Mario had to crawl on her body to collect sling star pieces (Who had the initiative to design that challenge?!).

  12. irishgamer Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 17:10

    Did anyone notice how the picture of the Queen Bee is from Super Mario Galaxy (1), and yet Thomas says that it's from Super Mario Galaxy 2? How ironic. :lol:

  13. ThePokekid78 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 17:29

    Ah, yet another old magazine article that's gotten wheeled out onto the website....

  14. CDS Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 17:44

    I can only remember some of them from the magazine though.
    But still, it gives newer readers the chance to read the old articles.

    To the point, I especially like the Pokemon ones. Them games seem to have the most mistakes through the series.

  15. cthesupergenius Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 18:02

    Wasn't this in the magazine about 6 months ago?

  16. Waldy565 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 18:09

    great list, love trivia like this! Only knew about 3, I'm ashamed to say :(

  17. IG-42 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 18:13

    also Okami USA boxart fail

  18. Twinkle Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 20:05

    Very interesting! Never knew many of these! Most mistakes were made in pokemon (I think). However, very funny! I really like the Zelda "I AM ERROR" quote. :D 8)

  19. Pichu10585 Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 22:51

    Did anyone notice how the picture of the Queen Bee is from Super Mario Galaxy (1), and yet Thomas says that it's from Super Mario Galaxy 2? How ironic. :lol:


    Ninja'd, I'm afraid.

    A winner is you not.

  20. Shmilly Tuesday 18th Dec 2012 at 23:29

    Just for the record, Japanese doesn't have an L or an R. The series of phonetic characters associated with it are voiced somewhere in between the two (put your tongue behind the ridge behind your teeth when you say it).

    Some great facts here though, a good read.

  21. toffeeman30 Wednesday 19th Dec 2012 at 07:41

    super ghouls and ghosts on the snes springs to mind. not a mistake or glitch as such, but when you finish the game it sends you right back to the beginning

  22. deKay Wednesday 19th Dec 2012 at 08:06

    Just for the record, Japanese doesn't have an L or an R.

    Technically, it doesn't have any of the rest of our alphabet either - they've got their own. Actually, three alphabets (hiragana, katakana and kanji), but do use "ours", including the L and R, sometimes. They call our alphabet romaji.

    Anyway, even in their own alphabet, they do have the R sound - RA (?), RE (?), RI (?), RO (?), RU (?).

    Because they don't have a native L sound, they tend to pronounce "luh" as "ruh".

    (for what it's worth, it's the *Chinese*, not Japanese, who are thought to say the opposite - "ruh" as "luh" - as used in the "comedy" 1980s casual racism phrase "flied lice")

  23. Misanthropy Wednesday 19th Dec 2012 at 17:37

    "Hello my name is Mr Ten, first name Ten"

  24. koopa_kicker Wednesday 19th Dec 2012 at 17:40

    "Hello my name is Mr Ten, first name Ten"


    They must be called Ten Ten?!

  25. LOZanges Wednesday 19th Dec 2012 at 19:46

    One, simple sentence: all your base are belong to us!

  26. Misanthropy Wednesday 19th Dec 2012 at 23:47

    "Hello my name is Mr Ten, first name Ten"


    They must be called Ten Ten?!

    found out from wikipedia his real name is Takashi Tezuka but goes by the nickname Ten ten

  27. MartinIsAwesome Thursday 20th Dec 2012 at 11:16

    That's another interesting thing, while not mistakes, but all the nicknames in NES game credits (which I think I read were due to technical limitations where they couldn't type in the staff members' full names). My personal favourite is T.Nakazoo (Toshihiko Nakago)!

  28. Joseph Shoemaker Saturday 29th Dec 2012 at 03:59

    I got Resident Evil Revelations since the day it was released. And I never noticed the typo until now.

  29. GloverMist Saturday 29th Dec 2012 at 10:37

    I actually have that Pokémon: The First Movie card! I checked it and they must have changed it at some point, because mine mentions Marill and Snubbull, not the wrong versions. Strange.

  30. Super llama bro Saturday 29th Dec 2012 at 11:09

    I havn't played the game myself, but from watching chuggaaconroys lets play of it on youtube, there turns out to be hundreds of translation errors in okamiden

  31. Combusken Saturday 29th Dec 2012 at 12:07

    In Pokemon B2/W2, if you play it on challenge mode your rival has his starter at Level 45 instead of 41 when you fight him in Undella Town, however later when you team up with him in Lacunosa Town to fight Zinzolin, his starter is level 43.

    Meaning it dropped two levels. :O

    Speaking of B2/W2, there is a typo in those games. If you talk to the Ranger on the Victory Road (in the Pokecenter) they say "First of all, go through this long and difficult Victory Road. Then, defeat even one of the Elite Four. Increase what you can do little by little, and get close to the Champion!" The typo is that 'even' should be 'every'.

  32. LavaTwilight Thursday 3rd Jan 2013 at 15:28

    I don't think this was ever released on a nintendo console but is one of the worst bugs imaginable! At the end of Tomb Raider 5, you're running through a high-rise building being shot at by a helicopter. The only exit (through the door you originally came) is barred with lasers and you have to go through a series of gas chambers to unlock it. The problem is, it never unlocks! Thus rendering the game unfinishable. Although a PC patch was released for it, anyone with the PS1 version was stuck.

  33. NGM Cube Monday 21st Jan 2013 at 12:59

    Nintendo very rarely messes about with its own characters like that.

    The author of this must not play many Nintendo games. They do it all the time. Bowser (along with many other characters) constantly changes size.

  34. buzzboy42 Thursday 9th May 2013 at 21:29

    2 things:
    1.what is the error with "a winner is you"
    2.the star chips that mario collect by climbing on queen bee are GOLD, not silver! ONM made there own error! :lol:

  35. MartinIsAwesome Thursday 9th May 2013 at 21:58

    what is the error with "a winner is you"


    Indefinite Article where it should be a Definite Article for starters. Even after that's corrected, who on earth would say "The winner is you" instead of "You are the winner!"?

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